Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Doctor Who 45th Anniversary – Why Was 1989 Brilliant?

Doctor Who’s last year on TV for a while is among the best, with a dark and complex feel, female empowerment and echoes of magic… In books we get The Nightmare Fair, on stage it’s The Ultimate Adventure, and what’s on screen is jaw-dropping. The Brigadier gets a final stand-off against a demon; Ghost Light’s evolutionary parable has great ideas, dialogue and characters; Survival is both domestic and otherwordly, and offers the perfect epitaph; and vampirism is reinvented in…

The Curse of Fenric
“Objects can’t harm us – it’s human belief. And you stopped believing when the bombs started falling.”
“I’m not frightened of German bombs.”
“Not German bombs… British.”
“On German cities. British bombs killing German children.”
Horror, war and politics mingle with influences from Norse mythology through Alan Turing to John Carpenter in a brilliant story so fizzing with ideas that it’s been a huge influence on Doctor Who ever since. The lead characters, performances and emotional grounding are superb, too.

This has one of the best DVD releases, not just crammed with the pristine original broadcast adventure, documentaries and other extras but featuring a second disc with a complete new movie-length cut of the story that in many ways is the definitive version. Or there’s the episodic special edition that makes this the story most worth tracking down the VHS for. And one day, I’ll learn how to override copy protection and do my own edit from the feature-length version, with the cliffhangers I want (and to make Richard’s favourite story just right for him). If you find the book, of course, that has whole new bits again…

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